Saturday, 19 January 2008

Lost Girls: A Review

Lost Girls is a three-volume erotic graphic novel depicting the sexual adventures of Dorothy Gale (Wizard of Oz), Wendy Darling (Peter Pan), and Alice (of Wonderland). The three meet in an Austrian hotel before the outbreak of WW1. Many retailers refuse to stock it through fear of being accused of child porn trafficking, despite the fact that it involved no children in its production.

It is not true to the texts it draws from, but has obviously read them closely. It sexualises the texts at the expense of the original stories. It seems an agenda of the book to explore and expose every fantasy. In doing this, it's not very sexy; everything is rendered explicit and nothing is left for imagination.
Peter Pan has sex, though he gains no pleasure from it. For Wendy, Neverland is a place of sexual freedom which she moves through progressively, from desiring the lost boys, to Peter and finally the pirates, thus realising her sexuality.
The ‘shadowy and wild’ time before Wendy is fully grown is the time when she can realise her sexuality, and objections of sexualising children are anticipated and challenged by Moore, when he says, ‘Your child is real. These, however, are only real in this delightful book... They are fictions’. He attempts to legitimise, even encourage, fantasising about them. When Wendy tells Peter to ‘grow up’ it is because her fantasises are no longer compatible with this. But to say that Peter has sexual fantasies at all is a difficult claim to withhold, and one which I find little conviction in. The underlying theme of Lost Girls is not sexuality so much as how un-destructive sexual desire is, and the idea that nothing is that bad compared to war.
Hook is presented as a crippled paedophile, who desires both Peter and Wendy; when he tries to rape Wendy, she becomes aware that she does not have to consent to his desire, and tells him, ‘You can pretend you’re still young, like them... that’s why you fuck children... you’re afraid of women. And you’re afraid of getting old’. There is a clear difference then, in the presentation of the fantasy and the reality of penetrating the child.

Lost Girls contains something for everyone. In this, it is not ideally suited to any individual reader. It set out to do something different and create a better name for porn. But somewhere along the way, it got really repetitive. Perhaps three volumes were a bit much; I challenge anyone to remain aroused by page after page of the same women, same interactions, same bed, same strap-ons. Porn has a fairytale relation to reality, making Alice, Dorothy and Wendy, three fantasy figures, an ideal medium for the exploration of how far porn can go. It is the execution which is problematic. But not very. I expect the next collaboration between Moore and Gebbie’s to produce exciting results.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

It's not clothes you're looking for

Tonight at Monsoon...

I'm tidying the dresses. 'I need a dress', she says, by way of introduction. She wears blue feathers in her hair.
'Oh', I say. 'What's the occasion?'
'I have to attend my opening night', she tells me proudly.
'That sounds exciting', I say. 'What's it for?'
'The opening night of my musical. It is being put on my the same man who did The Lord of the Rings musical'
'You must be so excited!', I say. 'Which theatre is it at?'
'Well. I don't know if it's being put on yet. I put it in the post yesterday, so he's probably read it by now, so I'm waiting. But I think if I buy the dress it will send positive vibes into the world and help him to enjoy it, so I will get a response sooner. But I'm sure it will get put on. It's the best one.'
'The best what?'
'Musical. So I want something with a lot of sequins. I can't believe I've gained so much weight recently. You don't think I'm fat, do you? You don't think I'm a silly old fool for getting the dress before I know when the opening night is? Because I might lose weight. But it's good to be prepared.'
'... It is good to be prepared. But perhaps you should wait. Because musicals take a long time to produce. It will take over a year, between now and opening night, if it is accepted. In that time, fashion will change'.
'Well I can always pull the sequins off if necessary'
'... Yes.' I do not know what to say.
'I'd like ones with big sparkly bits.'
'Oh. Well. Shall I help you find some?'
'It has to be in the sale. And in size fourteen. And I need some stars for my hair. I'll wear feathers at the back and stars at the front'.
'Okay'. I do not know what the ethical thing to do in this situation might be. So I fetch stars for her hair from the children's department. She puts them in, decides she does not like our dresses ('very nice but not really that red carpet factor') and leaves. Wearing hair stars she has not payed for. I do not tell the security guard.

What continues to surprise me with this job is how people do not want clothes from me but security. They want me to tell them they are not old, not fat, not crazy. They want me to tell them that they look good. But more then that. They want me to tell it them in a way that makes them believe it, makes them see it in themselves.

I rarely serve happy people: they wouldn't be shopping aimlessly if they were satisfied. I want to tell them that new stuff will not make them happy. But they know that already. They come to me because they seek an alternative view.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

delicious babies

Dear World,

Mathew and I would like to formally announce the names of our forthcoming babies:

1/ Shadowcat Azumi Liontamer McAwesome

2/ Lemony Lucas Zap Thor **** ***** Magee (other names to be announced at time of birth: they are surprises)

3/ Wolverine

4/ 011101000110111101101101 (tom in binary)

5/ Beardy Parrot-Shoulder Silverhook

In addition, John's firstborn:
- Ham Sammich

And Katie's:
-Mildred Margarine Magnetic Chess Sucker Smith

We hope you will look forward to welcoming them into the world as much as we do.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

Storytelling on the London Underground

I'm scared of the underground. But when travelling with a five-year-old, it's best to hide such fears. So to distract us both on the way to the science museum, I read 'Green Eggs and Ham'. 'A' loves it. She joins in on the 'Sam-I-am's. And while we are reading, something amazing happens. Every other person in the carriage turns off their Ipod or folds up their newspaper and leans in to hear the story. The nearby people look at the pictures, also. The busy carriage is transformed from a place of hostility to a place of friendship. The usual isolation was broken by something as simple as a storybook.

The value of friendship

I found an American copy of Cosmopolitan in my lounge recently. It rather troubled me when I read the following:

Don't Be BFFs

Being pals with your man is great in theory. But that kind of connection actually can kill your sex life. You could wind up having a roommatelike bond with each other rather than a hot one if you let yourself lose track of the masculine-feminine tension that excited you at the beginning of your relationship. Save the gab sessions for when you hang out with your girlfriends and your sexy energy for connecting with your guy.
—Lana Holstein, MD, director of sexuality and vitality programs for couples at Miraval Resort in Catalina, Arizona. Source: Cosmopolitan USA, December 2007

I disagree. Not talking to one's partner would surely bring more distance, thus making sex less intimate, although perhaps sexier because of the unknown. But I don't think its worth it. If a couple don't talk, after a while, they are going to become bored of presenting only thier 'best' self; the secure, rounded self. The false self. Rather like the image we are given today of the fifties housewife, it will lead to isolation and unhealthy repression. Consequently, the relationship will not be the best, the healthiest.

Maybe I say this because I find the idea of having a roommate-like bond with my man appealing. It seems rediculous to me, to marry someone who isn't already your best friend. I'm aware that I am addressing Cosmopolitan, advocate for frivolous dating. And if you're dating casually, then sure; there's probably not enough between you (or not enough between you yet) to merit in-depth discussion of one another. But relationships are about respect. Refusing to discuss emotion for the benefit of sex is not giving one's partner the respect they deserve.

I wonder whether Holstein's opinion differs from that expressed above when it comes to married couples.